Blockchain World Lost Path
2022/02/02 Leturia Azkarate, Igor - Informatikaria eta ikertzaileaElhuyar Hizkuntza eta Teknologia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria
Cryptomoney, NFT, Web3 -- it's what's recently heard in the digital world, even outside the digital world. They're all applications of blockchain technology or blockchains. If you look at your apologists, it seems to be the biggest revolution that's ever happened since the Internet was invented, and the most similar. But there's actually nothing that's been a big benefit or a change in the technology world or that's influenced people's real lives. On the contrary, they are nothing more than speculative issues of enormous environmental impact.
Fourteen years ago, blockchain technology emerged. Satoshi Nakamoto was the inventor of this decentralized database designed against fraud, along with the concept of cryptomoney and the first Bitcoin cryptomoneta. More recently, there was much talk of the multiple applications that could have the distributed, reliable and untampered storage of transactions: logistics, elections, citizen information records, contracts, business applications, etc. It is not clear whether these kinds of real and practical uses have been widely disseminated or not, but other unpractical uses have recently spread enormously, with many incorrect consequences.
Cryptomoney: speculative only
The idea behind cryptomoney is to have a digital currency, whose issue is predetermined and controlled by software that would self-regulate without the interference of banks and states. As in all the markets that are left without intervention, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dogecoin and all the other cryptomonetas have become the wildest field of speculation. Their actual use, that is, selling and buying real things, is very small, except for illegal stocks or laundering money. On the contrary, as we have all seen, web pages, apps, platforms or physical offices have multiplied enormously to invest in bitcoins or other cryptomonetas. Their advertising appears to us all over the place, and even more so to the kids: their idols, the Youtuberes, keep telling them that it's a safe investment and a great benefit, and that this world is constantly booming without confessing to them that they are paid to say so. That is why many people have put money into them and, as there is nothing for ever, when the increments have ended, as always, a few (those of always) have earned a lot in commissions and many small investors have lost a lot of money. And there's still a lot to come ...
In addition, the world of cryptomonetas has another dark side. In fact, the emission and acquisition of new cryptomonetas is carried out through a process called “mining”, which consists in the execution of cryptographic calculations by computers. Many companies, individuals and investors are therefore undertaking a continuous assembly and mining process to acquire these highly profitable currencies. And that leads to a lot of damage: traditional companies have difficulty getting investors, the lack of computers and graphics cards and rising prices, and the huge energy consumption these computers have has a huge environmental impact. In addition, there are a lot of malwares that put our computers in the mining tasks of cryptomonetas for others.
NFT: The absurd use of art
In the last two or three years, we're hearing a lot about NFT. The meaning of the acronym is Non-Fungible Token and, in fact, it is a uniquely identifiable data unit. But normally every NFT is associated with a digital file and the fact that it owns a NFT, in theory, means owning that digital file. And NFT property and transaction documents are stored in blockchains. NFT is used for the purchase of exclusive accessories (clothing, useful...) in certain video games as well as in the digital art trade.
And what are the problems with NFT? On the one hand, many buyers have not been clearly told what it means to own a NFT. It simply means that the platform managed by the NFT certifies that the NFT is its own, but this does not guarantee the ownership or right of exploitation of the digital file associated with the NFT, let alone the legal guarantees or the technology necessary for anyone to copy it. On the other hand, although NFT can have good things (giving artists the opportunity to make money, for example), today they are used exclusively for speculation, such as cryptomonetas. As they are fashionable, they are bought (and some are very expensive), in the hope that they will then be sold more expensive, and many people are investing in it because advisors have told them that they are an investment of the future, among them many young people, pushed by the influencers of their head. Moreover, many young people are dedicating their lives to selling their digital ‘art’ like NFT, with the aim of rapidly and effortlessly enriching themselves, and recording the NFT of simple 8-bit images or meme tones on platforms that charge commission. Finally, the cryptographic calculations that any blocking chain must perform to record something and that the immanipulability forces to distribute on a large number of servers, make the NFT also harm the environment and only benefit the world.
Web3: new unsolicited website
With the excuse that the web is falling into the hands of few companies, applications and services, the apostles of blockchains and cryptomonetas have proposed the following version, Web3. This version has nothing to do with Web 3.0, the semantic web, proposed for a long time by the creator of the web Tim Ber? -Lee. This new Web3 would simply be a new web based on blockchains and cryptomonetas. Although it is still only a project, Web3 has received many criticisms, all highly deserved.
Just because it's based on blockchains, it's going to take more energy again. Moreover, the proposal does not clarify how certain features of the current web, such as databases, will materialise on Web3, so many consider it to be a vaporware (i.e. a technology that sells us very well or very well, but which does not really exist or is impossible).
On the other hand, some of the technology companies most interested in Web3 are the big ones, with which Web3 will hardly achieve one of its founding objectives: to avoid its dependence or centralization. While it is true that the current web is centralized in a few companies and this is a big problem, the web itself is a decentralized protocol and the solution exists long ago: Series of federated decentralized technologies such as Activeuskaltel.com Pub, Nextcloud or Matrix and tools and services that already exist through them. It is enough for users to move to them without the need for Web3 or blockchains.